Making a List Checking it Twice
* Jin Hu is a 1st-year grad student at the University of Michigan working in the area of VLSI system design, SAT and LP, and placement and routing. Jin was a CADathlete in November and says, "I'm currently a pre-PhD candidate and plan on doing a PhD in 5 or 6 years. I would like to eventually become a research professor at a credible university (preferably in California, where it's warm :)"
As far as gift giving is concerned, Jin says, "I would like to buy a CD/MP3 player or plasma/HDTV for my parents. As far as I know, my dad keeps up with how to use most of the gadgetry out there. My mom's not really that interested, but will use them so long as my dad uses them first. Thus, I don't think it'll be too big of a problem, so long as it's something that comes with a nicely written instruction manual."
* Kai-hui Chang is a 3rd-year grad student in EECS at the University of Michigan, focusing on logic verification and physical synthesis. Kai-hui was a CADathlete winner in November and says, "After I finish my PhD, I plan to find a job in an EDA company such as Cadence or Synopsys. I am interested in joining a start up, too."
As far as gift giving is concerned, Kai-hui says, "I might buy a GPS or portable DVD player for my parents. I think they can operate the DVD player themselves. For the GPS, I will need to learn how to use it first and then teach my parents."
* Kun Yuan is a 1st-year grad student at the University of Texas, Austin, working in VLSI in the areas of physical and circuit design. He was a CADathlete in November and says, "I want to get my PhD and go into industry to work for such companies as IBM, Intel, or AMD."
As far as gift giving is concerned, Kun says, "I would buy a digital camera, and will teach my dad and mom how to use it and how to download and upload photos. Also, my parents sometimes ask people to print the photos out." Kun would help them with that as well.
* Mosin Mondal is a 3rd-year ECE grad student in the Rice University Automated Nanoscale Design Group, and working in the areas of modeling and extraction of interconnect and timing, noise and power analysis. Mosin was a CADathlete in November and says, "I am currently pursuing my PhD and after I graduate I would like to work for some EDA company (Cadence/Synopsys/Mentor etc.), or some design company having an in-house CAD group (IBM/Intel/Freescale, etc.)."
As far as gift giving is concerned, Mosin says, "For my mother, I'd like to buy a nice, cute cell phone. For my father, I prefer a user-friendly PDA which he'll be able to handle. [However], I think I will have to help my parents to learn how to use the gadgets."
* Roma Patel is a 2nd-year grad student in EECS at Syracuse University, working on the development of CAD tools for physical design, placement methods for cell-based layouts to minimize wire length, and high-level synthesis tools. Roma was a CADathlete in November and says, "I will be graduating in December '06. I plan to move to industry and am looking for jobs currently. I am targeting EDA industries, specifically ASIC design, VLSI synthesis, and CAD."
As far as gift giving is concerned, Roma says, "I would buy the best and most complete set of body massagers available in the market! I think my parents (my dad for sure) will read the instructions before use, and then both of them should be comfortable using the massager. But, if I would be with my parents when they open it for the first time, I will read the instructions with my dad. We will together assemble it, and get started with my mom first."
* Sonia Singhal is a 2nd-year grad student in ECE at Carnegie Mellon University, working in the area of VLSI physical design. She says, "I have worked for 4 years in the industry (Cadence India) and wanted to do my PhD to pursue a career in the academia. But looking at the way professors need to slog for grants/tenure, I am having second thoughts. But I love to teach and learn new things, so I really don't know where I will head after this."
As far as gift giving is concerned, Sonia says, "I recently saw a digital photo frame at Circuit City. It got me really excited as I recalled my mother's constant complaints of us not getting hardcopies of digital photos to her. The Wi-Fi enabled photo frame is the best, as I can upload my photos from here on Flickr and the photo frame at my parent's place would automatically download them and display the photos as a slideshow. I am just waiting for a good size Wi-Fi frame to come out in the market."
"My parents are not that comfortable with getting used to new technology anymore. With all the problems that keep coming up in a PC they try to avoid it as much as possible. The fact that they check emails and use a digital camera and send me pictures is out of their sheer need to be in touch with their children. (My sister is in Australia and my parents are in India.) That's one of the reasons I am waiting for the Wi-Fi digital frames to become a little more reasonably priced to buy for them so that I can operate it from here. And they have to do the least amount of work. Even asking them to burn a CD and take it to the photo-printing shop is a big deal and my mom cribs about not having accessible photos of her grandchild to show to her friends. I am sure this will excite her to no end."
* Zhiyang Ong is a 2nd-year grad student in EE at the University of Southern California, whose research interests include formal hardware verification, test automation, and physical synthesis. Zhiyang is a cross-country athlete, and was a CADathlete as well in November. He says, "I am currently working on improving test coverage with automatic test pattern generation for high-level test synthesis." As far as gift giving is concerned, Zhiyang would like to buy a MacBook Pro for his relatives.
Gift ideas from the beyond-grad school crowd
* Abbie Kendall, Principal at Armstrong Kendall PR, says, "We are buying my parents (72 and 73 years old) a flat screen TV. We will install it and review with them the instructions for using it. Mom doesn't use the PC, but dad does, mainly to find news stories and send emails and photos back and forth to all of us kids and the grandkids."
* Chris Burke, President of BtB Marketing Communications, is giving an email machine to an elderly friend who he hopes will be able to use it because little computer knowledge is required for the device.
* Chris Rowen, President and CEO at Tensilica, says his father is a fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. Rowen says both of his parents are still very active and frequently travel internationally for both business and pleasure. He says they don't need electronic devices for entertainment, DVD players, TVs, etc., but he thinks a quality GPS device is something they could definitely use when they are in the car traveling locally.
* Dave Kelf , EDA Industry Consultant, says, "Well, I have a specific situation which might be interesting to think about. I am contributing this year for my Mum to have a Stairmaster device put in her home. This is basically a seat, which travels up the side of the stairs and makes it easier for her to get up and down. You might point out that, while a valuable thing for a lady getting on in years, this is not particularly interesting from the point of view of a device full of leading electronic components or the latest processors. Well, think again."